A good nights rest. The single factor that can take your day from a 2 to a 10. Important for both mom and baby. However, we can probably all agree that a good nights rest for baby has to come first, in order for everyone else to get theirs.
With sleep being so important, it is crazy to think that children don't begin to enjoy it till their later school years. Making childhood a known difficult time for parents. All that can be changed though with some simple tips and tricks to turn your babies room into a sanctuary. A sanctuary that they will enjoy going into, rather than it being known as the dreaded nap time.
A sanctuary is known as a safe place or refuge. Any place can be turned into a sanctuary.
Here are some tips to get your babies room to feel like a sanctuary:
Tip 1: Less is more
One of the worst things you can do is create a room filled with buzzing energy. Like the rooms with loads of color and constant moving items.
I know, I know... It's tempting to cover the walls with all those adorable elephant stencils and hang a cute musical mobile over the crib, and fill the shelves and crib with stuffed animals. But trust me when I tell you that—when it comes to children's rooms—less is more.
The reason is simply that all this extra ‘stuff' can be distracting (or downright overstimulating) for a child, and the last thing you want to deal with at bedtime is an overstimulated child.
So my advice here: de-clutter your child's room. Or, at the very least, de-clutter the crib by getting rid of:
- extra blankets
- stuffed toys
- positioning devices
When it comes to your baby's crib, remember that less is best. Not only does this create a much more calming sleep space, it's actually much safer, too!
Tip: 2 Dark is best
One of the biggest reasons a baby wakes up too early is simply because they are sensitive to even the slightest changes in light levels. In other words, when the morning sky starts to lighten, it can be enough to wake your baby!
It's for this reason that I'm a big fan of blackout blinds. (Those thick blinds or curtains that hotels use to keep it pitch black in your room even when it's the middle of the day.)
If you're on a tight budget feel free to hang up dark sheets to achieve a similar affect.
Tip: 3 Small sounds
There is little to no chance that a babies' room can be too dark, but it can be too quiet.
Why? The amount of light that enters your child's room is something you can control pretty easily.
The amount of noise? Not so much.
Sure, you can tiptoe around the house and watch TV with the volume at a whisper, but there's always the chance that somebody's going to ring the doorbell, call your phone, or drop a saucepan in the kitchen! Also, if your baby goes to daycare they are going to have a rude awakening during nap time if they have been used to a noiseless sleep environment!
With that in mind, I recommend two things:
Get your child used to a little bit of background noise (like conversation, TV, housework, etc.)
- Try out a white noise machine. A lot of parents swear by these, and I'm a big fan myself! A white noise machine does a great job of ‘masking' other sounds.
Tip: 4 Lower the temperature
One of the biggest mistakes parents make when putting their babies to bed is overdressing them.
I remember when I was a first-time mom, I always wanted to bundle my little son is several layers of clothing each night. You know, to keep him cozy. However, he would frequently wake in the night, and when I went in to check on him, he would often be too hot.
Overdressing your baby can also be a safety hazard, putting them at risk of overheating and SIDS.
It turns out that most experts recommend keeping your baby's room somewhere between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
In order to keep your baby warm, but not too warm, my recommendation is to use a baby sleeping bag. There are a lot of different kinds available, and you can get some really cute ones!
Tip 5. Calm the environment
Starting about an hour before bedtime, your child's bedroom should become an oasis of calm.
During the rest of the day, it's fine to have all kinds of loud, rowdy fun in your child's room. But for the hour before you put your child down for the night, everything that happens in their bedroom should be quiet and soothing.
This accomplishes two very important bedtime goals:
- It makes sure you are not getting your child excited or overstimulated right before bed. Remember how excited you used to get on Christmas eve as a child? That's what a rousing game of "peek-a-boo" can do to a baby!
- It helps you "set the tone" for the night. By not engaging in ‘active play' in the hour before bedtime, your child will understand that fun time is over for the day, and won't be tempted to try and start playing games with you after you've put them to bed for the night.
I'm not saying you should turn into some kind of unfeeling robot in the hour before bedtime, of course. I fully encourage cuddles, singing, laughter, storytelling, and so on. Just remember to keep it calm!
Creating a sleep sanctuary is a great way to set the stage for a healthy night's sleep, but if you're the parent of a baby or toddler who isn't sleeping through the night, then chances are that there's a little more work to be done.